Trends in electronic music come and go. If you're an artist looking to build a career instead of catering to what's hot at the moment, it can be a struggle to create an identity and push your sound forward.
Lars Sandberg (a.k.a. Funk D'Void) has managed to not only craft thoughtful, forward-thinking techno and house since the early '90s (when he released some seminal tracks on Soma, the label that is home to Daft Punk's early recordings), but he may be more relevant now than he has ever been.
"I've always been a fan of creating music that stays pure to your inner voice -- as soon as you start bowing down to fashions or current trends, I feel that your music comes across as contrived," explains the Glasgow-born Sandberg, who will headline the Saturday-night portion of the Manitoba Electronic Music Exhibition (MEME) at the Cube in Old Market Square. "I think I've carved out a certain sound over the years that can be recognized."
Not content to just fire out tracks at a rapid pace, the Barcelona-based producer, DJ, label owner and father has been able to create a balance between time in the studio, life on the road and looking after his children. By consciously side-stepping the limelight, he has avoided the ego-driven side of the music business.
It may be his time away from the studio and DJing that keeps his passion alive, not the number of tracks he releases in a year.
"I take long sabbaticals from music in order to keep my love for writing tracks hungry," he says. "My key to success is quality, not quantity."
Also releasing deep, house-flavoured cuts under the alias Francois Dubois, Sandberg has run his own label, Outpost, for the past couple of years. It gives him more control over his own career and allows him to work at his own pace.
"I should have done it years ago," he says. "It's tough, but I love the freedom. I'm glad that I have some mileage with my name, though; these days it's impossible to break through. I've got a lot of inspiring artists on my label now -- most of them are pretty low-key, but their music definitely isn't."
Outpost may be the vehicle for some of his tracks, but he also has an album slated to be released on the Scottish Soma label, a 12-inch-single set for Guy J's Lost & Found label and a number of remixes on the horizon.
Around for both electronic music's boom and bust, Sandberg has seen and heard it all. While techno and house continue to evolve, he can recognize the cyclical patterns that tend to emerge in pop culture.
"It's just morphed into different photocopies of past styles, pastiched or re-packaged for new crowds," says Sandberg. "Producers have more tools to access the history, digest it, sample, copy and mix the existing templates.
"I love analogue house at the moment, though. I'm a big fan of old machines."
While some artists clamour to get on DJ Mag's Top 100 list or manoeuvre to get into the spotlight, Sandberg is content to let his music and live performances do all the heavy lifting. He strives to remain authentic and uncompromised, even if can be difficult at times.
"I don't have a plan. I write music, play music and hang out with my kids," says the down-to-earth producer. "The fame game that everybody plays is abhorrent to me. People that know me realize that I hate the egocentric (side of the) DJ business."